Travel SOS: am I too old to hire a car?

Fey wants to know if she’s too old to hire a car.

Travel SOS: am I too old to hire a car?

Anyone can take the ‘guidebook’ tour, but Leon reckons the best guides are the bartenders, the Uber drivers and the person sitting next to you … They’re the ones who'll help you discover the hidden gems and have an authentic travel experience.

Fey is 75-years-old and is keen drive to some of the smaller towns outside Australia’s larger cities, only she’s unsure about whether she’s too old to hire a car.

Q. Fey 
Does anyone know of any car rental companies in Australia that will rent a car to seniors over 75 years of age? It's lovely to be retired and actually have time to 'see' Australia, but so restrictive if one can't travel the roads and visit areas and small towns outside of the larger cities.


A. Thanks for your query Fey. The short answer to your question is, while there is generally no set maximum driving age with most car rental suppliers, they will usually leave the decision up to the individual depot.

Most car renters only require your valid full Australian driver’s licence. Some companies will also ask you to present a medical certificate stating that you are okay to drive, at the time of hire. Again, it’s ultimately the location’s decision as to whether they’ll rent to a person over the age of 75.

older woman driving a hire car

And some suppliers do have maximum age restrictions at or around 75 years of age that vary depending on the category of vehicle that you’re trying to hire. This means that you may be able to rent a small car, but perhaps not a large recreational vehicle.

Here is an example of an age restriction policy from the Hertz website:

“Customers aged over 75 can rent with specific conditions. You must drive on a regular basis, you will need to provide to the counter a letter from your doctor to state you have been in good health for at least 12 months and a letter from your insurance company to state you have not had an accident within the last five years, that you hold a current policy of motor insurance with them and that you are currently driving.”

So long as you can supply the necessary documentation and you have no medical conditions that prevent you from driving safely, you should be able to hire a car. And if one supplier knocks you back, try another one. Eventually you’ll find one that can help you.


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    COMMENTS

    To make a comment, please register or login
    Barbara Mathieson
    17th Dec 2016
    8:43am
    Probably a better ' bet' than some of the P platers!
    Jackie
    17th Dec 2016
    8:49am
    Hertz is being a bit precious with all its conditions for 75yr olds. The government doesnt have such strict conditiins! We need to know the ratd for accidents/deaths caused by 75yd olds compared to, say, 25 yr olds. Surely a better way is for an insurance company to add an excess, if any difference beeds to be made. A medical certificatd is an OK requirement though.
    MICK
    17th Dec 2016
    10:48am
    Spot on.
    Sandra179
    17th Dec 2016
    9:13am
    We have travelled all over the place including the USA, the only place we have had trouble renting a vehicle was in Fiji, there was only one company in Nadi that would rent one to over 70's, there were four of us, we asked for a large vehicle because of luggage and that all were adults, were given a vehicle that wouldn't take our luggage in the boot ie a small vehicle. However after seeing us they gave us a larger car. I'm sure that in Australia you will have no trouble at all.
    beemer
    17th Dec 2016
    10:04am
    In the ACT, drivers over 75 years are required to obtain a GP report every year that states that the driver is fit to drive even though 5-year licences are issued. This should be sufficient. Further, I wonder if hire companies are breaching Aged Discrimination laws in placing an age linit on potential hirers.
    MICK
    17th Dec 2016
    10:37am
    Am interesting article. I see the disclaimers on overseas rental company websites all the time and wonder if we are going to be able to rent a car when travelling a few years down the track. Thank God for Google cars. They may be our saviour by then.
    heyyybob
    17th Dec 2016
    11:13am
    Fey. I have been using Thrifty, in Australia and Apex in New Zealand for years with no problem. I'm now 77 (and a half - MUST stop saying that !!) and do have the annual GP assessment paper required (at least in Qld) stating I'm OK to drive. Which is nice since I've lived/driven cars and motorbikes in 5 countries since I got my first licence 60 years ago with one small single car (me) accident in that time and one traffic infringement (on my 60th birthday!) when Prob Constable Plod under the supervision of his senior officer booked me for rolling through a Stop sign, at 5.50 am and probably his first shift, when there was clearly no traffic in sight in any direction for 500m :) I only rent Medium and smaller vehicles and don't know if that has any bearing on my renting. Cheers :)
    heyyybob
    17th Dec 2016
    12:04pm
    p.s. forgot to point out my latest hire (from Thrifty) was only 2 weeks ago ..... at the age of 77 years, one half year and two weeks old !! *slaps self -stoppit !!
    heyyybob
    17th Dec 2016
    12:08pm
    p.p.s. I always pay the highest insurance (no excess at all etc) for peace of mind and that covers the lot - tyre damage, windscreen etc etc. Adds to the cost but gives me GREAT comfort and assurance and smooths my journey(s) :)
    fey
    17th Dec 2016
    12:12pm
    Thanks Leon and thanks also to you all for your comments. I live in the ACT so I already need to have my doctor sign off each year on my driver health status but it seems such a hassle to be discriminated against on the basis of (mature) age if I need to rent a car. Next year I plan on flying to Perth (my hometown, once upon a time) and then renting a car to visit relatives in the south west, driving in easy stages to Albany then back to Perth, taking a week to 10 days. So I'll get a letter from my insurance company and if I have any problems renting then, worst case, I'll buy a cheap car and do it that way.
    Boof
    17th Dec 2016
    1:35pm
    With what it costs U to hire a car. Buy one. We were going to hire Winnebago but the costs was great. We bought one for $84 grand & went around Oz. I made a few improvements , like adding another battery to the bank & getting a large fridge freezer installed. When we came home we sold it for $86 grand. Better than renting.
    Jackie
    17th Dec 2016
    1:49pm
    Good work, Boof!
    maelcolium
    17th Dec 2016
    2:39pm
    Discrimination on the basis of age is a crime. If you have a valid licence then refuse to provide any information which is requested because of age. Simple.
    Anonymous
    19th Dec 2016
    12:53am
    Exactly...if you have a valid drivers licence and you are under the age that you need an annual driving test by the government then why should car rental companies need medical/insurance info?! I agree its discrimination!
    PlanB
    17th Dec 2016
    3:23pm
    Hire to the person NOT the age -- also when you are over 70 -- or maybe 75? you pay more for your green slip too -- -- in NSW anyway -- WHY once again I say judge the person and their driving NOT the AGE -- I wrote to Duncan Gray about this -- once again got not satisfaction -- just because a person is of an older age -- does not mean they are bad drivers
    PlanB
    17th Dec 2016
    3:24pm
    Ooops that should have read Duncan Gay
    Beeman
    17th Dec 2016
    4:30pm
    In WA a medical test is required annually for drivers aged over 75 or maybe 80. I have been having one for some time. I cancelled most of my licences as they became irrelevant, starting with the MC at age 75 and down through various others until now I have only the basic C class. I certainly would not expect to go to any trouble based on age to hire a car should I need to.
    PlanB
    18th Dec 2016
    6:17am
    YEs NSW have to have medical test from the age of 75 plus eye test and examination
    Cooky
    18th May 2020
    3:45pm
    Do you know if Motorhome/Camper Hire Co's will hire to a 77yr "young" Aussie lady, in UK?


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